Dumbledore observed Skyler in silence for a while. Eventually, he spoke slowly, “You’ve made a valid point.

The pursuit of power is indeed inherent in human nature. Power can bring benefits, glory, authority, and, in terms of benefits, it can safeguard one’s dignity and protect those close to us.”

He continued with intensity in his gaze, “The crucial question is whether you possess the ability to control power, rather than being consumed by it. The truly strong individual wields power responsibly, avoiding its abuse. Have you heard the tale of the Peverell brothers? The eldest brother, relying too heavily on power, ultimately faced destruction.”

Skyler responded assertively, “Professor, you make it sound simple. Harry’s father and Sirius were both unregistered Animagi, right? Why didn’t I see you report them, have them sent to Azkaban, and let Harry become the son of a criminal? Professor Moody attacked Muggles, and it made headlines in the newspapers. Yet, under Mr. Weasley’s interference, nothing happened. This doesn’t seem like the so-called responsible use of power, does it?”

He concluded coldly, “It’s evident that everyone unconsciously leverages the power in their hands to shape events in their favor.” Skyler locked eyes with Dumbledore and whispered, “The difference lies in the fact that you have your sense of justice, and I have mine—my own sense of justice.”

Skyler felt a bit weary of the philosophical advice he was receiving. Without waiting for Dumbledore to respond, he continued, “If you’re here to discuss my registration for the Triwizard Tournament, I’ll be upfront—I broke the rules. I went against the age restrictions you set and participated in the tournament, but my motivation was solely to attain greater power, nothing more. I have no interest in world domination or the pursuit of immortality.”

Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to brighten, and he smiled, saying, “Child, you’ve misunderstood me. I never doubted that you would join the Death Eaters, and I won’t determine your future solely based on your lineage. I can assure you of this. Hogwarts is an incredibly inclusive institution, and the school has had students from Death Eater families before. We enroll these students because we believe that every young soul is extraordinary and worthy of our protection… I am genuinely pleased, my boy. I am truly happy that you’ve chosen to confide in this old man today.”

With this, Dumbledore eased the first concern in his heart. One of the reasons he recruited Skyler was because he sensed Skyler’s fervent desire for power, combined with the impact of Meredith’s disappearance on him. He worried that Skyler might succumb to extreme thoughts and embrace the dark path. Thus, he wanted to have an open conversation to guide him away from that dangerous trajectory.

Certainly, this is just one aspect.

Another reason is the recent influx of unsettling events, creating a sense of unease that prompted Dumbledore to seek reassurance for his plans. He no longer intends to let Skyler develop independently but rather intends to involve him directly in the plans he made.

Dumbledore regarded Skyler kindly and spoke gently, saying, “I’ve come to talk to you today primarily about your thoughts and to determine how, as the principal, I can offer you assistance.”

Is this a green light? Skyler wondered inwardly. It appears the old man is unaware of Serpentis Vigil and Kingsley’s demise!

Despite Skyler’s seemingly straightforward demeanor, facing one of the wisest wizards of the century, he couldn’t help but entertain some degree of deception. Several thoughts crossed his mind at that moment.

Maybe Dumbledore isn’t as all-knowing and all-powerful as some believe; perhaps those fan fictions from his previous life set expectations too high.

Dumbledore, of course, remained unaware of Skyler’s internal musings as he continued, “There are a few significant matters I wish to discuss with you. Let me begin with the first one. Skyler, I sense a familiar magic within you, though faint. I believe I cannot be mistaken. Have you, by any chance, already made contact with the books of Abatel?”

Skyler was momentarily taken aback. Dumbledore not only knew about Abatel but could also sense the familiar magic within him. Was it possible that…

Dumbledore perceived the realization in Skyler’s eyes and, with a smile, said, “You don’t need to divulge the origin of your Abatel. I harbor no covetous intentions toward it.” He then produced a book from his drawer, adding, “Since you have established contact with Abatel and may find use for it in the upcoming Triwizard Tournament, consider this book a gift from the principal in recognition of your contributions to the school’s honor.”

True to expectations, Dumbledore presented “Abatel Volume IV.”

Although a surge of excitement coursed through Skyler, he managed to maintain a composed demeanor. Despite his yearning for this magical tome, he was not one to easily accept kindness, especially from someone like Dumbledore.

Dumbledore was widely acknowledged as the most brilliant chess player in the original books. Even in death, his plans continued to impact the events involving Voldemort.

Given Dumbledore’s reputation, Skyler found it hard to believe that there wasn’t some underlying motive behind this gift. “Professor,” Skyler spoke cautiously, “as the saying goes, ‘There is no free lunch.’ Firstly, when I entered the Triwizard Tournament, I violated the rules, and there’s no guarantee I could secure victory for Hogwarts in the competition, considering my opponents were all seasoned wizards. I believe it would be more fitting to receive this gift based on the contributions I make, don’t you think?”

“Is that so?” Dumbledore’s eyes gleamed with an enigmatic light. “I don’t share the same perspective.”

“I hold great optimism for you, Skyler,” Dumbledore spoke in a gentle tone. “I don’t perceive you as inferior to them in any way. In fact, I believe—you are the most formidable contender in this tournament.”

Skyler inclined his head slightly, entering a thoughtful silence. “One could only wonder, was such praise truly warranted from Dumbledore?”

Throughout the semester, Skyler had intentionally kept a low profile. While the collaboration with Draco showcased an impressive combination of spells, it was crucial to note that it involved the use of a family-secret incantation.

The potential synergies from sharing the same bloodline caster in this particular spell remained uncertain. As for his success in resisting the Imperius Curse during the Defense Against Dark Arts class and mastering the Transfiguration Spells, were these not merely the achievements of an exemplary student? One could hardly label them as extraordinary.

It appeared as though Dumbledore, much like Merlin, possessed a unique insight into Skyler. Despite lacking magical eyes, these venerable wizards seemed adept at employing mysterious methods of detection, creating an unsettling mystery.

Dumbledore surveyed Skyler’s reaction with a contented smile.

“Before you accept this gift, I would like to share a few words with you,” he continued. “Are you familiar with the tale of Abatel?”

“Yes, Professor,” Skyler responded, “Abatel boasts a rich history, believed to have emerged before the establishment of Hogwarts. Its authorship remains a mystery, likely the work of multiple contributors. During a war, the compendium was fragmented into eight pieces, some of which even made their way into Muggle World publishing houses, revealing portions of the contents. Each volume corresponds to a distinct magical field, encompassing magic spells, magical mechanics, Transfigurations, learning, Charmology, Enchantment, Curse, Spirit, and Soul.”

“You’ve truly astonished me; every detail you provided is accurate,” Dumbledore acknowledged with a nod. “This volume in my possession is dedicated to Metamorphosis, specifically the magical domain of polymorphism. I’ve heard of your intention to learn about human body transformation from Minerva, and this book may prove instrumental for you. Lastly, I must inquire, have you encountered knowledge about the six legendary books?”

“The six great books?” Skyler questioned in puzzlement. Why was this information surfacing now? It sounded reminiscent of clichéd narratives from the world of online essays. Could this be another whimsical tale from the old man?

Dumbledore spoke deliberately, “The so-called six great books aren’t merely legends; they are tangible realities, though very few are acquainted with them. I learned of them from an old acquaintance of mine. Allow me to elaborate…”

“Old acquaintance again? Perhaps an old flame?” Skyler pondered cynically in his heart.

“The six great books represent a significant legacy, and it’s believed that our magical theories have evolved based on the knowledge contained within them,” Dumbledore continued. “These books are categorized into white and black magic, with the first three being devoted to white magic and the last three to black magic. It’s essential to note that my reference to black magic doesn’t imply criticism; magic’s nature depends on the intentions of its wielder. Learning about dark magic doesn’t automatically make someone a dark wizard.”

Inquisitively, Skyler asked, “May I ask, Professor, do you know the origins of these six great books and their current whereabouts?”

“The first book is the epitome of alchemy, and my old friend Nicolas once possessed half of it,” Dumbledore smiled and revealed, “I have reason to believe that he passed it on to you before his demise.”

“What!” Skyler’s thoughts immediately raced to the locked book he had received from Nicolas. This mysterious tome bore no title on its cover and was secured by a special alchemical lock that could only be opened through alchemy.

Despite Skyler’s considerable prowess in alchemy, he remained unable to decipher the lock. Reflecting on this, he couldn’t help but marvel at the true strength of Nicolas and long for the knowledge concealed within that enigmatic book.

Simultaneously, another question surfaced in Skyler’s mind, “Professor, are you suggesting that Mr. Flamel’s extraordinary alchemical abilities were derived from only half of the book?”

“Yes,” Dumbledore nodded solemnly. “That’s precisely why Nicolas’s alchemical legacy is incomplete. Despite being hailed as the most potent alchemist of his era, there’s an underlying bitterness in his story.”

“Due to the incomplete inheritance, his successful creation of the Philosopher’s Stone was essentially a fortuitous event that couldn’t be replicated. He was unable to produce another Philosopher’s Stone, and regrettably, he couldn’t pass on this knowledge to others.”

Skyler was intrigued by this revelation. So, Nicolas Flamel’s single creation of the Philosopher’s Stone wasn’t due to deliberate choice, but rather a limitation imposed by the incomplete inheritance. But how did this connect to taking on apprentices?

Dumbledore anticipated Skyler’s queries and elucidated, “Nicolas had a benevolent nature. He didn’t wish to sever the inheritance, but he was more concerned that it would fall into the wrong hands; the incomplete knowledge might tempt someone into attempting to refine the Philosopher’s Stone without his unique luck. Failing in the refining process would not only squander materials but also potentially unleash a series of unforeseen disasters…”

Understanding dawned on Skyler. “So, is there any information on the whereabouts of the other half of this book?” he inquired.

Dumbledore fell silent, his gaze fixed meaningfully on Skyler, a glint of uncertainty in his eyes. After a prolonged pause, Dumbledore spoke, “Speaking of which, have you heard of the Hohenheim family?”

A spark of intrigue lit up Skyler’s eyes. Could this truly be connected to the Hohenheim family?

Skyler responded, “I’m familiar with them. They are a renowned pure-blood family in Germany, known for their expertise in family healing magic and alchemy. The ancestors are said to be the enigmatic Paracelsus.”

Dumbledore maintained his gentle smile. “You seem to be quite well-informed. Indeed, the Hohenheim family is rumored to focus their alchemical pursuits on refining the human body.”

Skyler, feigning contemplation, paused before responding, “Achieving immortality?”

Dumbledore’s gaze deepened, and he spoke in a hushed tone, “That would be my conjecture. As we know, alchemy seeks, in succession, ‘immortality,’ followed by ‘resurrection from the dead,’ and ultimately, ‘transcending eternity.’ I surmise that Nicolas hesitated to progress beyond the initial stage after knowing what lies beyond that boundary…”

“Nicolas clung to this state, perhaps relying on chance, because his inherited knowledge only encompassed the aspect of ‘immortality.’ Consequently, while he attempted to maintain the immortality of his soul and body, he inevitably succumbed to the ravages of aging. This aging manifested not only in his physical form but also in his soul, resulting in emotional detachment and a numbing of the spirit…”

“I suspect that the secrets recorded in the lower half of the book pertain to overcoming the deficiencies of the Philosopher’s Stone.” Dumbledore’s eyes gleamed suddenly. “And the Hohenheim family, dedicated to the study of the human body and soul, has become the subject of this particular topic I am discussing with you…”

“So, Professor, you suspect that they possess the lower half of the book?” Skyler inferred, grasping Dumbledore’s implication. After all, what else in this world could offer better resistance to aging than refining both body and soul?

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Published On: February 11, 2024

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